September 29, 2011

Published by the Thoreau School Parent Teacher Group


We hope that everyone has finally settled into their routines for the school year. It always seems like such a busy time of year! Many PTG committee chairs have been busy preparing for school events, including the upcoming Book Fair Family Night on Friday, October 14. Family Night is a great opportunity to meet other Thoreau families while supporting our efforts to bring so many wonderful enrichment opportunities to the school community. While we sell many new books during the Fair, we are also in need of gently used books your children may have outgrown. If you would like to donate your old books for resale, please look for more specific information in the announcements that follow. In addition to the Book Fair, we hope you will help us by collecting “Box Tops” and submitting them to the PTG. A flyer went home in students’ folders last week outlining the items that are covered by the program. It does not cost anything to participate, but together, Box Tops can add up to a significant sum for the PTG to use in support of the Thoreau community. Finally, the PTG sent home brochures with each child for the annual gift wrap program. This year we have selected a vendor that sells not only gift wrap, but many other specialty gift items. It is still only September, but please consider purchasing some items now for holiday presents. You can get your shopping done AND help the PTG! With funds generated by events like these, we are able to offer — among many other things — financial support for teachers in their classrooms, transportation for certain field trips, and an incredible array of special programming for all students at regular student assemblies. Given the tough economic climate, we greatly appreciate your efforts and generosity in supporting us so that we can in turn support the entire Thoreau community. Finally, we would like to thank Andrew Tubbs and Prow Sarnsethsiri for all of their hard work in producing the school directory and Robin Grace and her volunteers for pitching in on picture day.
–Melanie and Shelagh, PTG Co-Presidents


There are a number of PTG board and Committee Chair positions open for the 2011-2012 school year. Please consider volunteering for one of the open positions. You benefit from being on the board by being actively involved in decisions regarding PTG events, sponsorship and budget spending. All board members are required to participate both in PTG meetings and PTG Board meetings (approximately one meeting each month). In addition to attending meetings, each position has specific job responsibilities.

Volunteering for a Committee Chair position is a great way to get involved with a short-term commitment. PTG Committee Chairs are responsible for organizing a specific event or function for the PTG, and the time commitments can vary. We hope you will consider taking on one of these essential positions. If you are interested in any of the positions below or have questions, please contact Melanie Bettencourt, PTG Co-President at

  • Vice President: Vice President functions include creating and organizing the Back-to-School packets, managing the volunteer forms used by committee and event chairs, and acting as a liaison between the PTG Board and the Committee and Event Chairs. The time commitment can vary throughout the year with this position; the Back-to-School packets require a number of hours at the end of the summer. Throughout the school year, the weekly commitment lessens with tasks like responding to e-mail and occasional communication with committee and event chairs. The term for Vice President is a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years.
  • Cake Walk: The Cake Walk is a Thoreau tradition that provides fun for the entire family. Part of the event is a carnival, part is a cake decorating contest and then of course, the cake walk – a distant relative of musical chairs where the person on the number drawn when the music stops, wins a cake. Responsibilities: The Cake Walk Coordinator(s) is responsible for planning the games, refreshments, activities, prizes, publicity, soliciting and scheduling volunteers, and supervising the event. Time Commitment: Labor-intensive for 6 weeks prior to and up until the night of the Cake Walk. This is usually done by a committee of 6-8 people.
  • CCPI Representative: Concord Carlisle Parents Initiative (CCPI) is the parent subcommittee of the Superintendent’s Community Advisory Council on Student Health (SCACSH). SCACSH’s mission is to encourage and educate the community to help young people to make healthy decisions around: alcohol and other drugs, peer pressure, self-esteem, sexual behavior and personal safety. Responsibilities: Parent reps serve two year terms. They attend monthly CCPI meetings, share insights and information on the health-related concerns relevant to their school. CCPI identifies health issues and initiates parent education programming to address areas of concern. School representatives promote the role of CCPI as a forum for addressing health concerns to their parent community.
  • Kindergarten RegistrationResponsibilities: Each spring the incoming Kindergarten students come to Thoreau School with their parents to experience a classroom, meet the staff and new friends, take a school bus ride while the parents attend an information session in preparation for the fall. The Kindergarten Orientation Coordinator works with the Principal and his/her Assistant to schedule volunteers with registration. Time Commitment: 3 – 4 hours on the day of the event


REMINDER: Please sign up as soon as possible. The first meeting will be held this Monday, October 3rd. (The grade or grades meeting will depend on the number of children who have signed up.) Lego club is a low key club where children have fun with Legos and each other. All ages are welcome. The club has in the past been divided into groups by grade. Each group meets once per month. This is a parent run club; it can’t run without you! This year’s Lego Club will meet Mondays in the cafeteria, 3:15 – 4:00 for the entire year. Once we have the final number of children, we will divide the club into manageable and age-appropriate groups so that again each group will meet once per month. Parents will be assigned a date to volunteer. (This likely will average once for the year for 45 minutes — not a big time commitment. More leaders are needed and very welcome and, as always, parents should feel very free to stay during Lego Club even if they haven’t signed up to volunteer that month. It is a wonderful way to spend time with your child and their friends doing something they love to do!

Groups will begin meeting in October. Please sign up immediately so that we can organize the groups and arrange for parent volunteers. We will be collecting dues of $5 per child to pay for Legos, Lego games, the end of year popsicle party. If you are interested in receiving financial assistance, please contact Rachel Levesque, School Social Worker, at or (978) 318-1300. To sign up, send an email to and include your child’s NAME, GRADE, TEACHER, your EMERGENCY CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER during Monday meeting times and an email and telephone CONTACT FOR ROUTINE COMMUNICATION such as switching volunteer dates with other parents. Please email any of the Lego Club leaders with any questions.
–Sara Neville ( for Melanie Bettencourt (, Julie Hayen Miller (, and Rose Waxler (


Mark your calendars for the New and Used Book Fair which begins with Family Night, Friday, October 14, 5:30-8:00. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered so far, but we need more volunteers! We are looking for volunteers for 2 – 3 hour shifts during the Book Fair to help organize books, be cashiers, provide supervision during classroom visits, and many other small tasks. Volunteering is easy – send email Dorothy Bisbee ( and she will send you the link to the online volunteer schedule with times and tasks so you can decide when and how you can help.

You and your child can visit the Book Fair again during classroom visits on Wednesday, October 19 – Friday, October 21. The Fair raises funds for the school, provides books for the classrooms and the library, and will be raising money ($1 for every Thoreau student!) so the children can give a “Gift of Books” to a literacy cause.

Used book collection will take place beginning Tuesday, October 11, and runs through Friday, October 14, so start collecting your child’s good quality books to donate to the fair. Also useful are long rectangular boxes (often used for fruits and vegetables) to stack the books in. You can drop them off in the main hallway on the table. Please no adult books/videos/CDs, board books, or VHS tapes. Place your donations in a paper bag and remember to write your child’s teacher’s name and the total number of books donated on the bag and bring them to the school. Please contact Fiona Stephenson at with questions about the used book fair.


Picture Day on Friday was a big success thanks to over 11 parent volunteers. A special thanks to Lisa Derosa, Kerry Anne Stone, Jean Chandler, Bob Zuffante, Terry Cassidy, Mallory Price, Leonor Daley, Jenn Newbold, David O’Brien, Natalie Kattwinkel, Sharon Shariff and Audra Evans for doing anything and everything needed to parade all of the Thoreau kids and staff through their group and individual shots. Also, a special thanks to Deb the custodian, Donna and Maria in the office and all of the staff for their cooperation all morning. Pictures will be brought home in 4-6 weeks within your children’s backpacks. If you forgot to pre-register your child for Picture Day you can go online and purchase a package, now! Just go to Even if you didn’t pre-register, your child still had their picture taken on Friday so to avoid a late payment fee, please purchase your package this week. Retake Day will be in 4-6 weeks; the date will be posted in the Thoreau Announcements. If your child was absent on Friday or your children’s eyes were closed in their picture, etc., please feel free to sign up for Retake Day (instructions provided after you get your pictures). If you are not happy with either set of pictures after Retake Ray, you can get a full refund once you return the pictures.
–Robin Silver Grace


Do you have something you want to the Thoreau community to know about? Get the word out through the Thoreau Announcements! Submissions must be school or community related and not commercial in nature. Send your item, in the body of an email message (no attachments) to no later than 9pm Monday for Thursday’s publication. Submissions should be brief and have minimal formatting – no bullet points or underlining, please!


The PTG is supporting the “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” program again this year. Orange collection boxes will be distributed to all students via their classrooms before Halloween. UNICEF works in over 150 countries, providing children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. Everything that UNICEF does is for one purpose: to help children survive. If you have any questions, please visit the UNICEF website at or contact Jean Easterday ( Thank you for your ongoing support.


Did you know that there is a new Food Services Director for the Concord Public Schools? Check out Chef Alden’s Facebook page for posts on menu items, pictures of meals, and lunch lady boot camp!


Did you know that the CCHS Building Committee has been working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority on a proposal to build a new high school? Check out a FAQ page You can also find more information at or attend a community forum that includes a tour of the current high school on Monday, October 17, 7:00pm at CCHS.

LUNCH MENU Week of October 3-7

Monday: Mozzarella Sticks
Tuesday: Early Release
Wednesday: B. Good Burgers (local grass fed beef that is hand pattied and never frozen)
Thursday: Bean and Cheese Burritos
Friday: Comella’s Pizza


Help Bring the Magic of Halloween to All Children

We are collecting any costumes, sports uniforms, accessories or costume jewelry for From The Pumpkin Patch, an organization dedicated to providing Halloween costumes to children from low-income families. All items — new or used, infant to teen sizes — are welcome. Please bring any items to the collection box in the Thoreau lobby by Friday, October 21. We appreciate your support. Sincerely,
–Carole Stockmon and Will Blumenberg (Freshman at CCHS)

“How to Talk So Kids will Listen and Listen So Kids will Talk” with Cyndie White, M.S., Parent Educator

This perennial favorite is a five-part workshop that offers innovative ways to solve such common problems as how to listen to and understand your child’s concerns; how to have cooperation in your family without nagging; how to find alternatives to punishment; and how to help your child attain a positive self-image. Video clips are used as a jumping off point for discussion and to illustrate points. Presentation and discussion is overseen by a seasoned facilitator. This course fills up fast so register early! For parents of children through age 11. Five Wednesday afternoons: October 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, 1:00 – 2:30pm at the Ripley Building,120 Meriam Street, Concord. Fee: $135 (includes cost of workbook) Limited to 12. Register by emailing or calling 978-202-1143. This MiniGrant project is funded through the Northwest Suburban Health Alliance/CHNA 15 DoN funds from Lahey Clinic.

MIT Historian to Receive Prestigious Award for Excellence in American History

The Friends of the Concord Free Public Library have selected award-winning author Pauline Maier to receive the 2011 Ruth Ratner Miller Award for Excellence in American History. Maier is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Maier will accept the prize and speak at the Main Library, 129 Main Street, Concord, on Saturday, October 22, 2011, 7:30pm. Maier’s historical work centers on the American Revolution, the preceding era and post-revolutionary United States. She is the author of Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788, which was awarded the 2011 George Washington Book Prize, and American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence and From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776. Ticket sales for the Miller Award lecture benefit the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library ($15 adults, students free). Tickets are available at the Concord Free Public Library, 129 Main Street, and the Concord Bookshop, 65 Main Street. For more information, visit

CFN Kids’ Stuff Tag Sale

Are you looking for kids’ clothing, gear, toys and books for your ever-growing little one? Would you like to sell kids’ stuff you no longer need? Here’s your chance to go green and help keep stuff out of our landfills. On Saturday, October 1, The Concord Family Network (CFN) will be holding its Kids’ Stuff Tag Sale. Come enjoy a coffee and treat at our bake sale and find a treasure or two or three at the 20+ booths selling gently used children’s items. The tag sale will be held at the Sanborn Middle School Cafeteria (835 Old Marlboro Rd, Concord MA) 8:00am-12:00pm. You may purchase a spot at the tag sale for $20 to sell your items. The tag sale is open to all children’s items such as toys, clothes, books, maternity clothes, strollers, cribs and children’s sports equipment. No household items please. Admission is $1/person. Proceeds from admissions and the bake sale will be donated to First Connections, a non-profit that provides support and services to local families. For more information or to reserve a spot, please contact Eck Redmond at

The next issue of Thoreau Announcements will be published on September 29, 2011. Submission Deadline: 9 pm Monday, October 3, 2011.
Submission guidelines: Submissions must be school or community related and not commercial in nature. Submit your item in the body of an email (no attachments); it should be brief and have minimal formatting – no bullet points or underlining, please! Email your submission to You will receive an e-mail acknowledgment that your submission has been received.